Westmoreland high school notes: Hempfield’s Sierk has smarts

Saturday, July 3, 2021 | 6:54 PM

Dan Sierk is as much a student of the game as he is a fierce, run-blocking tight end and an edge-turning defensive end.

An incoming senior at Hempfield, Sierk is a load at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds.

But it takes more than size and skill to play college football at a high level. Smarts are important, too, and Sierk has them — he scored 1,450 on his SAT test.

That would help to explain his first Division I football opportunity, which came about a week ago when Penn came calling.

The Ivy League scours the country for players like Sierk.

“In high school everyone has to be a student-athlete, and more often than not the best players are also the best students,” Sierk said.

Sierk carries a 4.5 GPA and runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash, not a bad mark for a player that big.

He has been to prospect camps at Slippery Rock, Duquesne, Pitt, Lehigh and Penn, and he plans to attend a camp at James Madison.

“Schools generally seem to like my size and athleticism, playmaking ability on the defensive side of the ball and high energy in-game,” he said.

A two-year starter for the Spartans, Sierk was a second-team All-Class 6A conference selection last year. He had 36 tackles, six for loss, and 5 1/2 sacks over a truncated five-game season.

He also had five receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Metzger hired

Diane Metzger is the new girls soccer coach at Norwin. A former player for the Knights, she played on the 1996 PIAA championship team before graduating in 2000.

A goal-scorer from the midfield, she played college soccer at Grove City.

Metzger replaces Lauren Karcher, who resigned after seven seasons. Karcher is due to have her second child in September.

Karcher was 123-16-4 and won WPIAL titles in 2015 and ’16, and a PIAA championship in ’17.

Metzger, a former assistant coach at Chatham, is a physical education teacher at Yough.

She also works with youth players in the Norwin Soccer Club.

Valinsky moving on

Buddy Valinsky made it clear he is not retiring from coaching, but he is finished leading the Norwin boys basketball program.

He resigned after two seasons.

“I still have the fire,” he said. “I thought it was the right time for me to move on.”

Valinsky, 61, had a record of 19-23 with the Knights after leaving Allderdice, his alma mater, where he won 226 games.

Jeannette AD

Jeannette will begin interviewing potential candidates for its athletic director position this week. Ryan Hayden resigned last month after two years at the post.

Someone will be recommended to the school board for a vote July 19.


Greensburg Central Catholic football player Joe Blahovec, a rising senior, picked up an offer from Division II Lake Erie. Blahovec is a a 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver and defensive back.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at bbeckner@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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